Study of Patterns – 2

Study of Patterns is central to whatever we think and do.

The interdependent state of Nature is reflected through the various patterns she continually creates them as per context.

Leonardo da Vinci was a keen student of Nature. Instead of trying to dominate nature, as we have been trying for ages, Leonardo’s intent was to learn from her as much as possible. He was struck by the beauty he saw in the complexity of natural forms, patterns, and processes. He was intently aware that nature’s ingenuity was far superior to human design.

And this is what he had to declare about her:

“Though human ingenuity in various inventions uses different instruments for the same end, it will never discover an invention more beautiful, easier, or more economical than nature’s, because in her inventions nothing is wanting and nothing is superfluous.”

This inspires me to observe systems at work, think deeply and design and execute effectively.

However, the idea of understanding and learning starts with discovering the underlying principles at work. In order to do that we must find the invisible relationships that exist between different elements. Seeing through relationships creates the necessary ‘wholistic’ understanding for us to become wiser and probably enlightened thinkers, designers, executives, salesmen, leaders and workers. .

How do we do that? What is beautiful in her expressions are her myriad patterns. It is through the study of patterns that we come to discover the innumerable relationships that exist between different elements. This is perhaps the first and the most crucial step towards understanding and learning anything.

Fortunately, Nature expresses herself in three simple forms. She dances (oscillates). She shares energy (dissipation). She dies (wear and tear process).

She expresses herself when any system is either in dynamic equilibrium or when a system is taken away from equilibrium — the only two possible living states for any system.

The slides above represent one of the many patterns that we get to observe. It does not matter whether we observe such patterns in engineering or elsewhere. It is still Nature at her best exhibiting her wildest, creative expressions.

The fan handles hot air, say around 200 to 250 degree Celsius. However, owing to frequent maintenance actions on the fan  the lagging (insulation cover) on the fan ducts was removed.

Heat pictures (Infra-red Thermal Images) were taken on various parts of the duct. The different colors tell us about the temperature of the gas at various locations in the duct.

As we can see the heat pictures create lovely colorful patterns all around the duct. We can also see that the gas is swirling. Technically, we can call this a turbulence. We also observe that at the bolted jointed zone the temperature of the gas is the least (represented by the bluish color).

OK. We get the idea.

Now the questions that arise are the following:

a) Why is the air exhibiting ‘turbulence’?

b) What is the relationship between the lagging and the turbulence?

c) Why is the air cooler at the jointed portion of the duct?

d) What would be the effect of the turbulence on the fan system? Would there be any other effects?

e) What is the learning we glean from this? How can the purpose of any system be understood?

f) How could we transform the turbulence into more streamlined flow? What is the principle that we might follow?

g) Where else we might apply this principle to improve our lives?

Hope you enjoy the questions.


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